Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Melissa Wil­liams

An un­in­ter­rupted run, high yields and strong grain prices are un­der­pin­ning an al­most ideal har­vest pe­riod for Brett and Re­nata Steele’s grain en­ter­prise at Mullewa.

The Stee­les planted 5300ha of crop this year with their son Daniel and, to the start of this week, had stripped all 800ha sown to canola, 400ha of lupins and about 3000ha of their 4100ha wheat crop.

With only a week of har­vest re­main­ing, Mr Steele said it had been an ex­cel­lent sea­son, with re­turns likely to match those re­ceived in the farm’s top years of 2008 and 2011.

He said all of the crop­ping pro­gram was sown dry this year, with the prop­erty re­ceiv­ing only 70mm of sum­mer rain to pro­vide soil mois­ture.

This was fol­lowed by aboveav­er­age grow­ing sea­son rain­fall of about 200mm from June to Au­gust but then a harsh fin­ish in early Septem­ber, when the fi­nal rain event of 2mm was recorded.

Mr Steele said across the canola pro­gram, yields av­er­aged 1.1t/ha, which was a good re­sult for the non-GM va­ri­eties that they used and sur­pris­ing given the tough spring con­di­tions.

“Our lupins had a slightly above-av­er­age yield of 1.8t/ha and the wheat we have har­vested to date has been yield­ing about 2.5t/ha, which is also above the long-term av­er­age,” he said.

“We are re­ally happy with the qual­ity of the grain as well, al­though wheat pro­tein lev­els have been a bit vari­able.

“About 20 per cent of the wheat we have taken off has had pro­tein lev­els of un­der 10 per cent, push­ing it back into the ASW1 stack.

“In hind­sight, we prob­a­bly could have used more ni­tro­gen.

“But we are re­ally happy with where things are at.”

Mr Steele said strong grain prices and good har­vest­ing weather were cap­ping-off their won­der­ful sea­son.

Pic­ture: Jus­tine Rowe

Brett and Daniel Steele have pulled in one of their best har­vests since 2011.

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